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Chiefs shut out Texans for first playoff victory in 22 years

Knile Davis of the Chiefs returns the opening kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown against the Texans. “It was a huge deal, man. It set the tempo,” Davis said. “It quieted everybody, kind of made everybody relax.” The play also marked the first time that the NFL playoffs started with a kickoff return for a score in the first game.

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Knile Davis of the Chiefs returns the opening kickoff 106 yards for a touchdown against the Texans. “It was a huge deal, man. It set the tempo,” Davis said. “It quieted everybody, kind of made everybody relax.” The play also marked the first time that the NFL playoffs started with a kickoff return for a score in the first game.

HOUSTON — After 22 years without a playoff victory, the Chiefs were determined not to give up the lead this time.

Turns out, Kansas City had enough points after jumping ahead 7-0 in the first 11 seconds.

The Chiefs used relentless pressure, five turnovers and a ball-control offense Saturday to dominate the Texans 30-0 in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

They were especially cognizant of not letting up after squandering a 28-point lead in a loss to the Colts in their last playoff appearance in 2013.

"What happened to us a couple years ago, everybody remembers that, even the coaches included, so our entire mentality is about finishing," quarterback Alex Smith said. "The mentality doesn't change."

They finished off Houston early and had the hometown fans booing by the second quarter. Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer had his worst game, with four interceptions and a fumble.

Defense kept the Texans close in the first half, but All-Pro end J.J. Watt left with an injury in the third quarter and Jadeveon Clowney never even put on his jersey. Clowney, the top overall pick in the 2014 draft, was inactive with a foot injury.

The Chiefs extended their NFL-best winning streak to 11 games since a 1-5 start.

"We wanted to come in and dominate," safety Eric Berry said. "Right now we are locked in and ready for next week."

It was the first postseason shutout in 107 games, since the Panthers beat the Giants 23-0 on Jan. 8, 2006.

On the opening kickoff, Knile Davis got three good blocks around the 10-yard line then outran the rest of the defenders for a 106-yard return score.

The defense took over after that, forcing Hoyer into a fumble and a three of his career-high four interceptions before halftime to help the Chiefs (12-5) take a 13-0 lead.

"I made some bad decisions that really hurt the team," Hoyer said.

Houston coach Bill O'Brien said he never considered benching Hoyer, but backup Brandon Weeden told a different story, saying he was warming up late.

"We had talked about me going in there with Brian," Weeden said. "Brian wanted to finish the thing out. I don't blame him."

Smith threw a touchdown late in the third and Spencer Ware added a 5-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter to make it 27-0.

Kansas City ended a streak of eight playoff losses since beating the then-Oilers in Houston on Jan. 16, 1994. That team was led by Joe Montana and Marcus Allen.

"Was it 1994? I didn't feel it, but I know how important it is, too," coach Andy Reid said. "You get to the playoffs, and first round, if things don't go well, that rips your heart out."

Hoyer was 15-of-34 for 136 yards as Houston (9-8) lost a home playoff game for the first time.

Watt missed most of the second half after injuring his groin in the third quarter. He returned a few plays later but soon left again when he was pushed to the ground by the head by tackle Eric Fisher.

"That's just a dirty play," Watt said. "But the injury was before that moment."

Fisher said he didn't know the play was over. Kansas City receiver Jeremy Maclin strained his right knee on the same play and didn't return. He is scheduled for an MRI exam today.

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Chiefs shut out Texans for first playoff victory in 22 years 01/09/16 [Last modified: Saturday, January 9, 2016 10:29pm]
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